Spring lecture series advocates the arts
April 15, 2010
The Caulkins Lectureship series — which is named for Professor Emeritus Richard L. Caulkins, who taught more than 50 years at Corban — strives to bring accomplished Christian thinkers to the University and the greater Salem community. The 2010 spring lectureship, “Telling Your Story: The Artistic Journey” on April 7–9, brought several professional artists to campus and explored issues Christians face in becoming involved in the arts.
Tamara McGinnis, co-chair of the series and Corban’s director of theatre arts, said, “My goal for this series was to broaden students’ understanding of the arts, to challenge their preconceptions of Christians and the arts, and to give students an opportunity to actually do art.
“What better way is there to broaden our understanding of the arts than by actually doing it ourselves?” explained McGinnis.
The five lectures in the series, therefore, were intentionally interactive through drama, paintings and printmaking, a question-and-answer forum and other mediums. Moreover, students made art for themselves during the last evening’s session in a seminar of their choosing, such as a dance workout, learning how to mime, creating artwork on the computer, and a group drawing activity entitled, “The Exquisite Corpse.”
Featured guest lecturers included Storyteller Bruce Kuhn, a former Broadway actor and a professor whose home-base is in the Netherlands, and Art Professor Scott Kolbo from Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., who has shown his satire locally, nationally and online.
Other professional artists participating in the series included Dancer Janey Jefferson, owner of The Dance Studio in Monmouth, Ore.; Soprano Amy Hansen, who has an opera career in addition to teaching voice at Willamette University; Susan Labrum, who shares her visual voice through graphic design; and Artist Hilary Brik Brown, local printmaker and co-owner of Promotions West, Inc., which specializes in embroidery and signs.
A recurring theme surfaced amongst speakers, said McGinnis, as guest experts emphasized that good art is about contemplation, even ambiguity. As Christians we may desire “theological statements,” but, as Kuhn stated, “Art is about relationship — the kind that God wants with us.”
Kolbo argued, “The art world needs to be inhabited by people willing to authentically participate in it.”
Students’ engagement with the series was positive. Sophomore Jordan Keck talked about his favorite session: “Bruce Kuhn’s dramatic interpretation of Luke helped remind me that the Bible is written about people who experience the same trials and emotions I do. I often forget the depth of emotion contained within those people we read about so often.”
Freshman Sam Pearson said, “The Caulkins Lectureship has helped me grapple with today’s ideas and arts from a Christian perspective in a way that my public high school was never able to.”
By Jenny Hirschfelder, Staff Writer, Office of Marketing & Communications
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